Introducing FORCE Combat: New operational fitness objective

Photo by Capt Christopher Daniel

Photo by Capt Christopher Daniel

Major Krzysztof Stachura
Public Affairs Officer, Canadian Army Doctrine and Training Centre

Dr Tara Reilly
Senior Officer Human Performance Research DFit, PSP

Physical fitness is an integral component of military service and Canadian Army (CA) soldiers must be physically fit.  Strength and endurance could mean the difference between success and failure in a military operation. 

The CA has traditionally used a load-bearing march, familiar to most as the Battle Fitness Test (BFT), as the accepted physical fitness Individual Battle Task Standard (IBTS) designed to ensure CA soldiers are physically prepared for Land Operations. 

While the current and familiar FORCE evaluation was being developed, Human Performance Research and Development was monitoring and evaluating the physical demands of typical CA operational tasks conducted in various environments. The conclusion:  the BFT no longer had broad operational relevance for the CA and a new physical fitness IBTS needed to be developed. 

The result is FORCE Combat; the most comprehensive and scientifically validated physical fitness IBTS ever developed for the CA. 

FORCE Combat represents an evolution of the existing IBTS based on modern and relevant CA operational tasks observed over the last 15 years.  Those required to complete FORCE Combat will shortly begin transition training in order to prepare for the formal implementation in October 2017. 

Research was conducted by Personnel Support Services and the CA to validate the transition from the old to the new IBTS.  For example, trials were performed to determine the optimum number of practice attempts to account for the initial learning curve associated with the new evaluation (three times).  The training program developed for those who were originally unable to complete FORCE Combat was also validated with great success (all participants who followed the program successfully achieved the new IBTS).  Field trials in various locations in Canada have resulted in the development of scientifically validated tools and resources to help CA soldiers achieve the new standard and maintain a level of physical fitness that allows them to thrive and succeed during modern operations.

To see FORCE Combat and access training resources visit: and

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  1. The introduction of “Force Combat,” a new operational fitness objective, as featured in Lookout Newspaper, is a significant development in the world of military fitness. It’s exciting to see a focus on enhancing the physical readiness and overall health of military personnel. The article provides valuable insights into this initiative, highlighting its potential impact on operational effectiveness and the well-being of those who serve. Kudos to Lookout Newspaper for keeping us informed about these essential developments in the defense sector.

  2. “Introducing FORCE Combat: A New Operational Fitness Objective” is an informative and captivating blog post. The article effectively outlines the importance of physical fitness in operational settings and introduces FORCE Combat as a promising approach. It’s encouraging to see the military’s commitment to enhancing operational readiness and overall well-being through innovative fitness programs.

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